seventhe: (Ondore: he lies)

So over my brief microsabbatical I decided on a list of things I want to get done by the end of the year: thus, New Year's Resolutions, in reverse, ie my resolution is to have this done before the new year. See? Get it? It's like I'm clever instead of backwards and wrong!

  1. Get Healthy [metric: exercise 3+/wk; lose 10+ lb]
    Content note / Note this: being healthy and losing weight are not always the same thing! Health has a unique meaning to every individual body!
    That being said: for me getting healthy and knocking off weight go hand-in-hand at this point in time. From May-September I ate poorly, rested poorly, drank too much, drowned in stress, and had no time or motivation to work out at all. That plus medication changes has resulted in what is, for my body, unhealthy poundage.
    I miss swimming. I miss yoga. I don't miss running, fuck running, but I miss being able to run I guess? I miss punching my bag. I want to have Korra arms. And I have, quite reasonably, 10-20 lb I could lose before being even close to "danger". (Trust me, I'm a Taurus; we don't diet.)
    This is something I can make happen by 01 Jan 2016.

  2. Inhabitable basement [metric: obvious]
    Right now the basement is storage, which is part of what basements are for, but mine opens up to my patio (and grill, and fire chimney) and has a nice little area by the windows where friends could sit and drink wine and grill things. I've two drum sets in my basement and my keyboard, all of which I have been missing desperately. (I miss music! I dream about pianos.) My workout area is functional, but not at all welcoming. My laundry area could use some sprucing.
    Much of the storage is related to the above, which means I just need to sort it and work through it. A good part, however, is my grandmother's stuff. She finally passed away in August (I am not sure I even mentioned it here; I was too broken by it to do so) and I do not mind storing her things forever but need to go through them and decide which way makes sense.
    This is, also, quite doable by 2016, and having those areas back in my life will please me immensely.

  3. Shame room --> Craft room [metric: obvious]
    I want to turn my spare bedroom into a crafting room, to house sewing / knitting / beading / anything else I may start doing. Right now it's a shameful repository of clothes-to-be-donated and a few boxes from moving (not original boxes - these were empty boxes that were repacked with "shit i do not want to deal with rn" and hidden).

  4. Plan for the greatroom [metric: having an estimate / loan]
    I have plans in my head to redo my entire greatroom, which started with my neverending desire to replace the horribly stained carpet in there and grew into a really, really epic floor plan. I need to get it from my head onto the page, then find a contractor who can give me estimates on time / cost to make it happen. Why not? Houses are investments, and my cafe-bar thing will be incredible.

  5. Work-Life Balance [metric: ???]
    I need to prove to myself that I can, in fact, work the kind of job that pushes all of my success buttons without killing myself. The next 3 months will be busy, as always, but not deadly, so it's time to fucking do it. I still don't know how to make a metric for this; maybe I can use success on the other Resolution points, because they won't happen if I continue to use my energy on work.

  6. Mental Peace [metric: ???]
    I went back through some journal entries and I've been in a massive depression funk since early 2014. That's too long. It has started to severely affect my health and my job. I need to attack this. I realize depressions don't "go away" but I haven't tried anything really and I at least deserve an effort.

  7. Write Again [metric: get some word count] No real comments. I just miss writing.

I stopped there, since there are really only 3 months left in the year, and they will contain not only the major hols of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but also the birth of my newest niece or nephew, so I'm well aware that this is a lot to do in that time frame. (Obviously they won't need to be complete, but I work better with deadlines, even self-imposed ones. Better to not let myself cheat.)

There. Public posting makes it real, right?

seventhe: (SAZH)
Somewhere in the back of my brain I've got a big 2013 New Year's Resolutions post brewing, but this is not that post. This is just a public announcement, because I figure it's fitting that one of my first actual actions of the new year has been registering for my remaining 4 credits of graduate research at the University of Akron.

I figure that since the general desire to finish my thesis and get all gradumitated and get this over and done with hasn't been enough motivation for me to actually do it, maybe the $1800 I just shelled out in tuition credits will be. :/

I mean it this year, folks. I know I've been saying it for a while, but I actually mean it this year. I'm done with this shit. I need to finish. I'm so tired of having the shadow of this hanging over my head and getting in the way of my actual life.

I will get my masters in 2013. Fuck it.
seventhe: (Life: stress out and die)
1. I have figured out, through some intense reflection during a boring meeting I wasn't involved in but had no chance to escape, that the answers I actually need to manage my project are an entire layer underneath the questions that I have been asking. (WORKCEPTION????) I've been asking for targets; what I actually need is a more clear fundamental understanding of the way work is supposed to flow from conception into production, and the role my project plays in the entire process, where communication goes and where priorities are. There isn't a process, by the way, and that's why I always feel so goddamn lost, and why even asking for clear targets isn't going to fix the mess I'm wading through. I actually need to go deeper.

I've set an appointment with the visiting Overlords on Monday and I plan to basically bang heads against a table with my newfound understanding of the situation I am in until someone cries uncle and gives me what I want.

2. I just emailed my advisor. I am back in the game. Thesis complete and Masters Degree by spring semester 2013.

Because fuck everything.

3. I am super stressed at the moment. :(

4. Icon (DW) has never been more relevant.
seventhe: (Life: stress out and die)
so that I don't get super overwhelmed here.

I got an A in lab. I'm pretty proud of that.

My final overall GPA is 3.775 (since I don't think research credits count towards GPA, I think they are just credits), over four years with a challenging and relevant full-time job. I'm pretty proud of that too. \o/

When my prof emailed me about my grade she also said she wanted to keep in touch about my thoughts on the MS/part-time program. She said she thought it would be appropriate to present it to the department, which is my eventual goal anyway. So that made me pretty happy.

The two kittens who were taken last night are coming back to me so that they can spend the next 2-3 weeks with Mama, but B+J have agreed to take 2 of them!!! once they are old enough. So not only do I have a home for 2, but they get to be adopted together -- and B+J get 2 weeks to prepare which is better for them too. I am really relieved about that.

Yesterday I seriously thought I was getting sick, but I think the fever was just some aftermath from my hypoglycemic shock, because today I feel okay. Tired, but okay. So I'm happy about that.

And I have cake.
seventhe: (Cats: I LIKE THEM)
Usually I lock the entries that have to do with UAkron, but I (finally) have something good to say about them, so I think I will let this one stand as one high (counter)point against my ongoing internet diatribe. :)

As some of you know: last week Friday during lab I was talking with the lab professor. She was telling me some things about the department, upcoming changes they're discussing, and we got to talking about the part-time program. She told me there was a meeting coming up discussing the Masters program and the part-time program, and we got to talking about its weaknesses and problems, and I think she could see how invested in this I am (spoiler: it's not hard to see), because she asked if I had any points, complaints, concerns, or comments -- she offered to bring them up in the meeting anonymously.

Oh, I said. Um. I have a list. I have documents I'm compiling.

She said, if you send me something, I will make sure it's heard, anonymously.

Now: I can't pass up something like that. You all know how hard I've been working, for years, and how hard I've been hoping to find someone who cared. So I went home thinking about it - and over the weekend decided that I didn't really want to dump my rant list on this professor.

And on Monday, when I sent her a note about the lab, she replied asking again for my thoughts and telling me that she would represent my concerns at this meeting.

So Monday night I stayed up, going through my old LJ entries (note to self: my journal did not actually import into DW like I thought it did; my tags and some icons did, but the entries didn't. As soon as LJ isn't dying of DDoS, fix this), which are all tagged for this very reason - reconstructing the hardest moments of my graduate school career. I was very careful with what I wrote. I selected only 4 or 5 main "concerns" or "topics", and when I addressed each problem, I also took the time to write constructive suggestions to help alleviate each area of concern I presented. I also was very careful with my tone, to remain straightforward and professional, to keep each concern clear, concise, and precise without dampening my concern. I removed any particular personal details - both to avoid the feeling that this was just a rant, and to keep my anonymity (many of the professors in question definitely would remember these incidents since I confronted them the first time).

I had two people read it over for me to ensure it was tactful, professional, and coherent. (I'm pretty sure both of them suggested things I had forgotten, that is how bad this program has been.) And then I sent it to her.

(If anyone wants to read it, I don't necessarily mind sharing it, although I will do so privately/locked.)

I also told her in the email that while I appreciated her offer of anonymity, I was more than willing to stand behind my words, and especially if the department wanted to talk with me further about suggestions for improvement - I would be more than happy to meet, discuss, brainstorm, and help in any way I could.

(Because frankly, my anonymity won't last for long. I would say I've had personal confrontations with about 75% of the professors I've had in this department. And I am all in on this.)

I was pleased enough to have found someone who was interested in what I had to say - someone who valued a part-timer's opinion, first and foremost, because that respect and acknowledgment has been ultrarare. But second - not only did she care about my opinion, she agreed with me on much of what we talked about.

And today I heard back from her. She thanked me for my commentary, and said that she really liked what I had written and while it ended up not being the appropriate meeting she has filed it away in her head for future use, because she thinks it's important: a really valid argument and a valuable angle which is being completely overlooked.

I hope I don't have to tell you how much I am smiling right now. After four years of wrestling, one small victory feels really, really awesome.

Thanks, M.
seventhe: Rydia (Rydia)
This semester I'm taking my last class - a 3-credit Polymer Science lab, that runs for 6 hours on Friday, 9-3. *CUE GROANING*

At the very first class - a safety and syllabus overview - the professor introduced us to the class by saying: "This is the worst class you're going to take in your entire PhD." Which I am sure is a great way to start off the semester with high morale!

Basically, we run experiments on lab days, and reports - big honking 10-20 page reports with error analysis (and not the good HONKing either) - are due two weeks after the lab, rolling. So on Week 1 I will do Lab 1. On Week 2 I will be writing Report 1 and doing Lab 2. On Week 3 I will be finishing and turning in Report 1, writing Report 2, and doing Lab 3. This continues until the end of the semester, or until I die, whichever comes first.

Have I mentioned that they make grad students take this class by itself because it's so much work? FULL TIME grad students, that is. So this semester? I'm carrying a FULL TIME workload. With just this one class. Remember: I have a job! A hard one! It's already full time!*

On top of this GREAT AND EFFICIENT schedule come the following two awesome points:
  1. They are trying to redo the lab experiments, to improve them. However, this means that the new ones last year? NONE OF THEM WORKED. Students got to choose between (a) working extra in the lab to get good data or (b) attempting to write a 10-20 page lab report and answering all assignment questions with bad data. That's a lose-lose situation to me, but do they care? Apparently not, because the prof doesn't seem to think many of the labs this year will be much better. Great. Glad we care about quality.

  2. They've apparently run out of second-(or-greater-)year students on assistantships supported by the department, so. My TAs and teachers and lab assistants? Are the students in the class.
    Just think about this one for a long second here. The students taking the class right now... will be teaching the class. And taking it. As they teach it.
    These are first-year students. They've only been through the first half of the core - our first 5 courses**. That's it.
    So these first-year students will be coming on Monday, learning about the lab and setting it up, and then teaching it to us. While they also do it.
    I don't pity them and I won't blame them for doing a shit job; that's a shit situation to be in. But I am also Not Very Excited for the amount of help (read: zero) I'll have on these labs.

I just. University of Akron, you may consider this an official public notice: YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG, GUYS.

I'm not looking forward to this.

It's my last class, and with that in mind, I'm going to just shoulder on through until May. I'm basically making myself harshly limit the amount of time I spend socializing or traveling or doing other stuff, and I'm looking at my schedule to trim out things. I can survive this, and it'll be worth it when it's done.

My plan is: I am going to save Thursday and Friday nights all for homeworking and lab reporting. This means no more weekend-long trips, not until May (except for a very few rare exceptions, like Ohayocon and a birthday or two). Only one night per weekend for socializing or hanging out. If I get behind on things, I will take a half day of vacation to work on them, rather than stay up all night. I can't afford to get sick this semester because there aren't any lab makeups I can attend (seeing as I work). I'm going to have to be pre-emptively careful, not just careful. Or else this is going to suck, a lot.

So: yay. And, uh, sorry to those of you who I hang out with in real life, but I really do need to make myself do this. It isn't that I don't love you! I promise. Really. in my pants.

On the plus side, this is the last semester you'll hear me whining about class.

* If we factor in travel time - JUST travel time, not errands or the gym or anything else I will be doing during the week - I'll be pulling 55 hour weeks. If I count nothing but work and school and driving there and back. :/ That also doesn't include homework time or, you know, anything like eating or chores (adulthood is its own part-time job (ADULTHOOD SUCKS)).
** Yes, the UAkron PolySci core is frigging ridic. The first semester is 5 courses. Who does that. No wonder this damn degree has taken me 4 years.

seventhe: (Default)



After this semester I'll have 19 credits. After next year's lab, I'll have 22/24.

I only have one more class to take after that and I am done with courses for this degree.

If I get the research project going, I could graduate in Spring of 2011.

Holy shit.

I know I have been at this for a while, but it's almost shocking to think that the end is actually in sight.. I have hated nothing as much as I hate grad school.

Spring of 2011.

Or Summer. Whatever. What matters is this: it's so much closer than I thought.

I need to sit down.

edit: the WORST part is that if I took lab AND Technology II next semester, I could be done with classes next May.

I would hate my life, but I'd be done.
seventhe: (House: Bottoms Up!)
So guess who actually got sunburnt this weekend?! If you guess me, you are correct.

Grad school, bike rides, beer making and scientific nerditude thereof, birthday parties, and more sunshine than you can shake a stick at )

Things I did not do this weekend:
  • Write any words at all.

  • [ profile] lunaticdiscord. I didn't even check my email (thx for 250+ unreads this morning guyz)


Anyway. It's beautiful here, again. I love this.


Dec. 9th, 2007 09:51 pm
seventhe: (oregon trail)
Having spent every spare moment I had this weekend studying, I have made a couple observations:

(01) I am not as stupid as I thought I was; I understand the things that are going on in class (with the help of the textbook, as well as copious help from Google, Wikipedia, and the Macrogalleria). I just haven't been putting the required weekly work into these classes. This needs to change next year, apparently: more studying every weekend, which will make me a robotard nerd, but oh well.

(02) I hate studying.

(03) I hate having to be a loser and study. At least I'm grown-up enough to do it?

(04) I wish I had a real place to study. Goals for next year: obtain a working desk area!

(05) I hate studying.

(06) I especially hate memorization. I almost asked the prof in today's review session what he thought he was actually teaching us by making us memorize so much information, but... I decided to wait until after the actual exam to be a huge smartass. (See? SEE? I AM a grownup!)

(07) Grad school is a lot more work than undergrad, even part-time. Maybe it's because so far I'm in the ass-kicking intro classes; maybe it's because I've moved out of my degree/area of expertise (chemical engineering). It's probably a combination of that. But it's ALSO the fact that grad school is just a lot more fucking work. Cocks.

(08) I miss football.

Back to the books. First final Monday, second final Wednesday.


Oct. 23rd, 2007 07:48 am
seventhe: (Mac/PC OTP)
This was supposed to be me venting about a horrible test and it has somehow turned into a rant on higher education and why I hate that professors are often such fucking assholes who refuse to take responsibility for their own goddam jobs. An actual rant, with a point and all. )

So, yes, I am going to go drown my sorrows in the Trick or Treat Meme and in Pirate AUs. Be alert, because Pirates may be appearing in your LJs in the future.

[ETA] - I actually didn't realize I'd made a "studying sucks a nut" tag before trying to tag this entry. Sometimes I make myself laugh.

[ETA #2] THIS IS IMPORTANT, GUYS! This week's [ profile] cockeyed_art challenge is FF characters in Halloween costumes. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO DO IT, DON'T LIE.
seventhe: (Sev and Enkida)
Current investment in furthering my education:

Time: 2 credit hours
Cost: ~$800
Learned: Not too much

To go: Way too much

Ugh. Why am I doing this again?


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